Ransom Named Cliometric Society Fellow

Roger Ransom, distinguished professor of history and economics emeritus, has been named a Fellow of the Cliometric Society. He will be honored at the society’s meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in May 2015.

Fellows must have published contributions to economic history “that are markedly original and have significantly advanced the frontiers of knowledge,” Michael J. Haupert, executive director of the Cliometric Society, wrote in a letter announcing Ransom’s selection.

The Cliometric Society is an academic organization of individuals interested in the use of economic theory and statistical techniques to study economic history, according to the organization’s website. Based at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the society has a worldwide membership of 500 practitioners in academic and professional fields.

Close Named Editor for G3

Timothy Close, a professor of genetics in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, has been named an associate editor for G3: Genes | Genomics | Genetics, a peer-reviewed, peer-edited journal of the Genetics Society of America.  Launched in 2011, the open-access journal meets the critical and growing need of the genetics community for rapid review and publication.  It offers “an opportunity to publish the puzzling finding, useful dataset, or highly focused research that may not have been submitted for publication due to lack of perceived impact.”

Close joined UCR in 1990 and works on the genetics and genomics of crop plants, currently focusing on cowpea, barley and citrus.   He earned his Ph.D. in genetics from UC Davis in 1982.

Ph.D. Candidates Nab Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships from Haynes Foundation

Ph.D. candidates David McCahon in political science and Karen Raines in history have won Haynes Lindley Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships from the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation.

McCahon, a veteran of the Air Force and Navy Reserve, is examining how civic engagement helps ex-criminal offenders reintegrate into society, an issue that is having greater impact on communities under California’s prison realignment program. He expects to complete his dissertation in June 2015.

“There are drug rehabilitation and job training programs, but there are no programs for civic reintegration such as teaching people about their rights to vote, serve on juries, or serve in the military,” he said. “Some research suggests that greater levels of civic engagement reduce recidivism, but there is little research as to why and how that works.”

For his dissertation – which has as its working title “A Legacy of Exclusion: How Punishment Affects Patterns of Civic Engagement in Ex-Criminal Offenders” – McCahon is working with the Riverside County Probation Department to interview offenders recently released from prison. He hopes to determine if educating ex-criminal offenders about their rights encourages more civic involvement such as voting and volunteering, and reduces the rate of recidivism.

“There is a lot of misinformation out there,” McCahon said. “For example, in my interviews so far about half of offenders thought they were permanently disenfranchised. They were surprised and relieved to find they could vote in the future.”

“David’s work is socially important,” said Martin Johnson, a former UCR political science professor who is co-chairing McCahon’s dissertation committee. “For one, it really demonstrates how the national conversation about the voting rights of ex-offenders shapes impressions at the local level.  California’s election rules are different from more exclusionary states like Florida, but the idea that all felons lose the right to vote seems to dominate the conversation.  David is showing that by teaching people their rights, we might help them become better citizens and prevent future crimes in the process.” Johnson is the Kevin P. Reilly, Sr. Chair in Political Communication and professor of mass communication and political science at Louisiana State University.

Raines, who taught English in Shanghai, China, for two years before enrolling in the public history Ph.D. program at UCR, is researching the segregation and desegregation of public schools in the Inland Empire, a project she hopes will shed new light on a history that is fading from public memory.

For example, when Lowell Elementary School was firebombed and destroyed on Sept. 7, 1965 – three weeks after the Watts Riots in Los Angeles – the Riverside Unified School District moved swiftly to desegregate its schools, busing minority students to predominantly white schools.

“This is still remembered as a magnanimous, voluntary gesture, when in reality there were many yet unexplored factors that drove the issue of desegregation,” Raines said, noting the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 that declared separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. San Bernardino city schools were ordered by the courts to desegregate in the 1970s.

Her dissertation, “The Fire This Time: From Segregation to Desegregation in the Inland Empire, 1924-1970,” will examine the history of segregation in the region. “A lot of people don’t know that segregation was occurring in California in the 20th century,” she added.

Raines’ study will complement the forthcoming book to be published by the Inlandia Institute, “No Easy Way: Integrating Riverside Schools – A Victory for Community – A Personal Reflection by Arthur L. Littleworth,” who served as the chair of the Riverside Board of Education in the 1960s, said her advisor, V.P. Franklin, University of California Presidential Chair and distinguished professor of history and education.

“Ms. Raines will be adding to our knowledge of events in San Bernardino and Riverside that brought about the voluntary desegregation of the public schools and thus will be making an important contribution to the scholarly analysis of the Quality Integrated Education movement in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s,” Franklin said.

The John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation was established in 1926 and is a leading supporter of social science research for the greater Los Angeles area. Haynes Lindley Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships are competitive and are awarded to students whose dissertation proposals address economic, social, policy, or political problems that impact the Los Angeles region, defined as the five-county area of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventura.

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